New York City’s Broadway theaters have been cleared to resume operation in September of 2021, according to an announcement from Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday. Beginning today, May 6th, tickets for Broadway shows beginning September 14th, 2021 will be made available for purchase at full capacity.
“Broadway is at the core of our New York identity, and a big part of our economy which employees countless performers and show creators, and beginning this September, the show will go on,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “Visitors from all around the world have come to New York to experience the arts and culture and see iconic performances on Broadway, and sadly, the pandemic put this unique New York experience on pause. Thankfully, as we continue to monitor the data and reopen our economy, we are now on track to allow full capacity performances on Broadway to resume beginning this September, bringing back this beloved world-famous attraction.”
Added Broadway League president Charlotte St. Martin, “On behalf of the nearly 100,000 people who make their living on Broadway – on stage, backstage, and throughout the city and state – we are immensely gratified by the support of Governor Cuomo today. Restarting Broadway is a complex endeavor, requiring long lead times for productions the need to reconnect with a sustaining audience from across the country and around the world. Today’s green light by the Governor to put our shows on sale now for the fall is vital to our success. Broadway is the beating heart of NYC tourism and we can’t wait for the day soon when our hearts will beat before a live joyful audience.”
According to the Broadway reopening announcement from the Governor’s office, “The State will continue to work closely with Broadway industry partners to plan for the safe, successful return of this world-class cultural experience. As public health conditions and the State’s guidance for performing arts and live entertainment changes, Broadway stakeholders will remain flexible and adapt to applicable health protocols, such as face coverings, health screening, enhanced air filtration and ventilation, and rigorous cleaning and disinfection.”
The Broadway reopening plan is a crucial step in the process of restarting the arts in New York. In early March, after a year of government-imposed shutdowns on live events, the State cleared live events to resume at drastically limited capacities in April. While this was a necessary first step, the allowed capacities continued to make reopening financially and logistically unfeasible for many venues and institutions, including Broadway.
Late last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio moved the needle ever closer to reopening when he announced that the city would “fully reopen” on July 1st, only to be one-upped by the State’s announcement this past Monday that “most” pandemic-related capacity restrictions would be lifted not in July, but later this month on May 19th.
While the rapidly accelerating reopening timeframe may have excited—if not, to a degree, divided—New York patrons of the arts, neither announcement included the reopening of Broadway productions, a vital signifier of the city’s vibrant arts and entertainment industry.
As Sara Bareilles, the singer, songwriter, actress best known in Broadway circles as the composer/lyricist behind hit musical Waitress, noted about the reopening announcement, “The Broadway community and its legions of fans have something to celebrate! The news we’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. By the time we get to the Fall, nearly 18 months will have passed since my fellow actors, musicians and crew members have been able to do what we love most: perform live to a theatre full of New York audiences. It’s time to get back to work, and I can’t wait to be back on stage very soon. Nothing beats Broadway and it’s coming back stronger than ever.”